Filtering honey, how long can I leave it out? Does it need a lid? Crystallizing ??

Discussion in 'Products of the Hive' started by riverrun, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. riverrun

    riverrun New Member

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    I'm collecting honey for my first time. I put a strainer lined with cheese cloth on top of a 5 gallon pail. Poured the broken up honey/comb in. I then rested a towel over the top as it strained. Bucket is filled now about half way with honey, straining is just about done.I am ordering some bottles which will come later this upcoming week BUT am concerned about:1) the honey crystallizing if exposed to air (while it sits being strained)? Should I put the bucket lid on?? Will all the air space in the bucket be bad for it too, despite the lid? Ideally I'd like to store it in the bucket and just fill bottles as I go...as I sell or gift them. Is this going to increase crystallization issues? I just can't find anywhere searching online whether to cover while straining, or how long you can have honey uncovered.2) I know I also need to give the honey time to release air bubbles - how long? And does it need a cloth lid should I just put a tight lid on during this whole process?3) will storing the honey in the bucket be sufficient - only half the bucket is full (lots of air space in it) and the bucket lid is not air tight (and I'd be dipping into it once in awhile). Or should I be getting it into any jars and bottles I can scrounge up? Does it matter for crystallization basically between these two methods?4) IF the honey does crystallize and I want it liquid again .. I know how to warm it, but how long does it last before 're-crystallizing' again?? (I tried googling this to no avail).I know this all makes me sound terrified of the crystals which I'm not haha...I am just trying to understand the process. Thanks for any help!!
     
  2. BoilerJim

    BoilerJim New Member

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    Riverrun,

    I've only been in this hobby two year so I am no expert. But, I have stored my honey in 2 gallon buckets (some 1/2 full) with the lids on tight. for over a year and I have not had a problem with crystallizing. I don't leave the buckets out in an unheated garage, either though.

    Seems like most of the air bubbles in my honey have disappeared within a week. I think the warmer weather speeds that up a little.

    Jim
     

  3. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Hi Riverrun--Answer to the first (unasked) question: Are we happy you are here? Yessir! Welcome to the forum. :hi:
    Next. The USA is a big place. If you could be miore specific about your location, answers could be made to fit the climate etc of your neighborhood. The answer to your questions, if placed from Florida, would not necessarily be the same as if you live in Maine.

    Now to business. I don't understand your fear of honey coming in contact with air, as rergards crystalizing. Exposure to air doesn't cause crystallization. Temperature is a real factor. Other factors are the floral source of the honey (honey from someplants is more prone to crystallization) and the possible presence of previous crystals in your honey (they serve as foci of additional crystallization). Generally speaking, in warm weather, honey will not crystalilze for several weeks and then, only slowly. Don't leave your honey uncovered so as to protect it from uninvited visitors (flies, bees, etc.) It needn't be airtight at all.
    Re-crystallization, after heating to liquify, depends on how thoroughly the crystals in the honey have been dissolved. If really heated and disssolved, crystallization can be delayed for a year and more--but such thorough heating usually affects the honey negatively, particularly eliminating the honey's boquet, one of the factors that make honey so special.

    Bottom line, order your bottles, keep your honey covered in the container till they arrive, and enjoy bottling nice liquid honey with a delicious flavor and aroma. :thumbsup:
     
  4. riverrun

    riverrun New Member

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    Thanks for the warm welcome!

    I suppose I was under the impression that opening a honey bottle often speeds up crystallization - perhaps this is due to humidity, and not 'air'? I see this happen with raw honey I've bought in the past. Maybe it's where I'm setting it too, near the sun (oops). But the unopened ones stay liquid.

    Here is where I'm confused with the bubbles - 'they' say to wait until they are mostly gone to bottle... but if I'm letting it 'de-bubble' in a 5 gal pail with the lid on, how is that different to it being in a little honey jar doing the same thing? I mean, I'm not going to be professionally sealing them - just a lid, just like the bucket would have a lid... here I'm confused.

    regarding heating crystallized - I would not want to bring it above 100 honestly, so how long would that last before recrystallizing?

    I am in west MI :)
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Exposure to air does not speed up crystalization. Like Efmesch mentioned, temperature and floral source are the big factors. The only thing affected by air exposure as far as honey is concerned would be the moisture content. If it is exposed to high humidity, etc., the honey will pick that up and possibly rise above the 18% threshold and then become prone to fermentation.
    If you have your honey in a five gallon pail and have a honey gate at the bottom, you can probably bottle in a couple of days as most of the air bubbles will have risen and you will be drawing the clear honey at the bottom.
    As Efmesch mentioned, floral source has a lot to do with granulation speed, I have had clover honey remain liquid for almost a year, whereas goldenrod or aster can start to granulate in a matter of weeks. If clear honey is "seeded" with already granulated honey it also speeds up the process, something that creamed honey producers actually try to do.

    Oh, and WELCOME! :mrgreen:
     
  6. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Humidity as said above is what you need to worry about (well critters and dirt also), honey will absorb moisture in the air and will ferment if it gets above 18%.

    Welcome to the forum also :hi:
     
  7. riverrun

    riverrun New Member

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    ah ok thanks for the explanations.

    Is there a place I can read up on which flowers? I keep hearing about the nectar affecting crystallizing but can't find any type of list of which types of nectar - certainly curious to see if there is such a thing! :)
     
  8. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/Forage.htm

    It Is a sticky in beekeeping 101...
     
  9. guyross2

    guyross2 New Member

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  10. riverrun

    riverrun New Member

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    great thanks for the link!

    So just to get this straight with the bubbles -if I'm letting it 'de-bubble' in a 5 gal pail with the lid on, how is that different to it being in a little honey bear squeeze bottle doing the same thing?

    I mean, I'm not going to be professionally sealing them - just a lid, just like the bucket would have a lid... how am I doing the honey any favor with the bubbles in the pail vs bottle?
     
  11. riverrun

    riverrun New Member

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  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    When the bubbles reach the top, it can give the appearance of "foam" or "scum" on the top, not something you want in your honey jars. In your 5 gallon bucket, you can "skim" off the foam.
     
  13. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Sorry , no, but it does list what is in your area.....
     
  14. riverrun

    riverrun New Member

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    oh ok makes sense! didn't even think of that.
     
  15. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Those skimmed off bubbles also burst eventually and if the honey itself isn't dirty, you can put it aside, come back a few months later and skim it again. using what's underneath. Two other alternatives are either to feed this skimmed off honey back to your bees or use it for making mead.
    Never waste good honey if you can avoid it.:thumbsup:
     
  16. riverrun

    riverrun New Member

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    good tips thanks!
     
  17. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    So, how quickly will honey absorb moisture from the air. It can get pretty humid, here, in NC. How long is too long to leave it out straining?
     
  18. riverrun

    riverrun New Member

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    I'd love to know this too.
     
  19. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I can't give you an exact answer, there are many factors involved (RH, temp, surface area) but I could mention a guideline or two. The moisture is absorbed from exposed surface areas and slowly spreads downward in the honey. While you have the froth of surface bubbles covering the top of the honey, they serve as a separation and slow down the moisture from getting into the honey itself. Once you scrape off the bubbles, moisture will enter the honey itself more rapidly. How much more rapidly? I really can't say, but covering the honey container should also slow the absorption process. I certainly don't think that a matter of up to a week would be to risky. The only time I had an issue of honey absorbing so much moisture that it started to ferment was when a customer didn't bother to close the honey container for a long time (probably well over a month), and then complained about the honey's taste going "off".
     
  20. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I have noticed that with some cut out comb that I brought into the house (air conditioned of course, which means a very low humidity level) that the nectar will eventually loose enough moisture to not ferment. Another beekeeper friend of mine actually pulls his honey supers off, stacks them in a criss-cross fashion to get more air circulation from a small box fan, and turns on a dehumidifier for a couple of days to bring the moisture content down. I would be a little leery of doing this since SHB can take ove in just a couple of days.